A common question we or any trainer will get is: “What is the best workout to help me _____?”
The honest answer no matter what you goal is: “The workout you’ll do consistently”
But there is one type of workout that if done right is sure to get you sweaty and burn some serious calories.
What is it? HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
HIIT has been shown to provide a variety of benefits, however, one of its most notable is
The best part? It’s super convenient. All you need is 10-30 minutes a day!
So, what is HIIT?
As we said If you’ve never heard of it before, HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training.
In short, HIIT is a form of interval training that incorporates cardiovascular exercises coupled with bursts of anaerobic activity like bodyweight or strength movements.
The best part about HIIT is that it can incorporate many different facets (e.g. cardio, bodyweight, resistance bands, and yes even weights).
These facets can largely be categorized into the two most common types of HIIT which we incorporate into our training programs here at FCF:
• Weight (Resistance training, Weight lifting, bodyweight, etc);
• Cardiovascular (aerobic exercises as well as things like like spin class, running, etc).
Benefits of HIIT
No matter what type of HIIT you choose, the benefits spread far and wide.
Below are a few of the most prominent benefits that pertain to fat loss, weight loss, and more.
Several studies have shown that HIIT can help with weight loss. Not only can it assist in an abundance of calorie burn in a short period of time, but it also improves your metabolic rate so that you can continue to burn fat for hours after you have completed the workout.
Which brings us to the next benefit…
Aside from the convenience, the best part about participating in HIIT is a process known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).
Simply put, EPOC is a biologically-induced process that makes your body burn energy (calories) up to 48 hours post-workout!
EPOC doesn’t require a lengthy workout which makes it very convenient. By simply increasing the intensity at which you perform a particular workout, you can induce EPOC.
To reiterate that HIIT is likely the most effective form of exercise for weight loss, here’s the final benefit:
In a review showing the response of human growth hormone (HGH) to HIIT, cases experienced a fascinating 450% increase in HGH levels.
Why does this matter? In short, increased HGH levels assist in a faster metabolism, which in turn, will help burn fat, and build quality muscle.
That’s a good thing especially for men and women over age 50. (And no ladies it’s not going to make you “bulky”
How to Perform HIIT
The problem for most people is that they don’t actually do HIIT even when they think they are.
The key word in HIIT is INTENSITY… If it’s not intense then honestly you aren’t going to see the benefits.
What does intense mean? Well it depends on the person. What is super intense workout to one person may be a warm up to another and that’s ok. The key is for you to do you not worry about what someone else can or is doing.
The best way to judge it is with the conversation test: Simply put if you can carry on a conversation with someone without having to pause to take some breaths then you’re probably not in the “intense” zone.
Oh and that doesn’t mean you have to be passed out on the floor afterward either.
Before you go, here’s an example template of a HIIT workout that you can easily incorporate into your exercise regimen.
It’s my favorite way to incorporate HIIT into my training and it’s something we do every week here at FCF.
It’s a training method called ‘Tabata’ and the beauty of it is it can be done anywhere (no equipment needed) and you can vary the exercises so you never get bored:
Here’s how it works:
• Choose one or more exercises. In this example, we’ll choose bodyweight squats and pushups;
• Using an interval clock, set the timer to 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest;
• Repeat the cycle for 4 minutes straight, rotating from 20 seconds of squats, 10 seconds rest, and 20 seconds of pushups;
• That’s it! Repeat the 4-minute cycle as many times as you like.
Incorporate a tabata session into your workouts 2-3x a week for a month and you’ll quickly see changes we promise!